Closer look at the HDD
Before we get into the all important benchmark data, let's take a quick look at the drive. As we discussed in the introduction, the new Seagate Barracuda 8 series drives come in capacities of 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 200GB, 300GB and 400GB all with SATA 150 support and spindle speeds of 7,200 rpm. Each of the drives include NCQ (Native Command Queuing) which is a feature seen for years in SCSI drives which reorganizes the way the data is collected from the drive to help improve performance in certain applications. The big bonus is you'll get a 5 year warranty when you buy your Seagate drive which includes parts and labor.
According to our online price comparison tool which gathers retail prices from popular online retailers in the States, the lowest price of the 160GB version 7200.8 Barracuda is $89 USD while the cheapest price of the Western Digital Raptor 74GB (the test competitor in this review) will set you back $176 USD. This means you are paying twice as much for the Raptor drive and getting back in return half the storage capacity. Suffice to say, Seagate have set the price of their drives very competitively and WD might have something to worry about if the new model of the Barracuda from Seagate can perform anywhere near the same as the 10,000 rpm monster from WD.
In the shot above we see a close up of the PCB on the reverse side of the drive. Since the drive natively supports SATA, no converter chip is required. The Samsung memory chip you can see provides the 8MB of onboard cache. Seagate intend on releasing new versions of the 7200.8 with 16MB cache but for our testing today we were only provided with a single 8MB version.
The final shot shows the connectors on the drive which is all quite standard. There is no molex power connector since the drive is native SATA and as such requires SATA power. While the four pins may look like jumper pins they are actually just for Seagate in-house testing purposes.
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